Global stocks rose modestly, supported by improving world economic growth and diminishing political risk. Investors cheered better economic data in the U.S., while breathing a sigh of relief over the results of the first round of France’s presidential election. French stocks rallied on poll results showing that a centrist, pro-European candidate is likely to win the May 7 runoff election.
Cyclical stocks generally outpaced defensive areas of the market, led by gains in the industrials and consumer discretionary sectors. Information technology stocks also moved higher amid strong earnings reports from bellwether tech companies. Energy stocks declined, following oil prices lower for the month.